My family celebrated Haunkkah for the first time when I was 6 years old. We were studying Israel that year in our homeschooling and my parents decided that it would be fun (and a "great learning experience") to celebrate some of the Jewish holidays. I don't remember much about our first Hanukkah but Mom remembers that we did an activity each night as a family. One of those activities was putting together a 50 piece puzzle that was suppose to last for only 20 mins or so. But when you have 3 kids between the ages of 2 and 6 plus an infant, an easy 20 min puzzle becomes an hour long puzzle.
And this is why my family and I don't do puzzles.
That and the fact that as a seamstress, when working with fabrics, if a piece doesn't fit, I can shape it to make it fit. But with cardboard pieces, they only go in one way AND ONE WAY ONLY! So puzzles frustrate me (nervous twitch).
After that first Hanukkah, my parents would give us the option of either doing Hanukkah or Christmas. Sometimes we would do both but we would only get our 3 presents at one. We only got three presents because, and I quote:
"Baby Jesus only got three presents. If Jesus wasn't good enough to get more than three, than neither are you." -Mother.
Those years we mostly lit the menorah and did a lot of family activities.
About 6 years ago we really started diving deeper into the Jewish culture. We began making it a priority to celebrate the Jewish holidays and "High Holy Days". Hanukkah started becoming a tradition for us and to this day we still celebrate it along with Christmas. Our "Hanukkah traditions" vary from year to year.
Last year everybody took a night and planned an activity and what we would have for supper that night. Jonathan wanted to make peanut butterballs one night, Christopher created a scavenger hunt for us, Gideon cooked up a milkshake bar and we all told funny made up stories on my night. Also, Mom and Dad surprised us by taking us to see The Hobbit in theaters. They blindfolded us, stuffed us in the car and took a back way to the movie theater so we wouldn't know what was up. I think we all had suspected that that's what they were doing 'cus my brothers and I had dropped some MAJOR hints that we REALLY wanted to go see The Hobbit the day it came out (which was during one of the last nights of Hanukkah).
Along with that, we put together a skit to do with a small messianic congregation that was meeting in Chattanooga. It was done kinda like a reader's theater with audience participation so everyone read their line from a script. But it still turned out great! Christopher wrote the script based off the history of Hanukkah and did it as a newscast. Here are some pictures:
(That dashingly handsome Judah Macabee is played by my awesome brother, Jonathan. Doesn't he look like a renegade with that headband tie?)
(Notice that Gideon has the big tie and Daddy has the small one :)
Everyone had fun and we plan to do it again this year with our bible study group.
This year, since Thanksgiving falls during Hanukkah, my family will actually be spending part of it with my Mamaw and Papaw as we are going to their house for Thanksgiving. On Saturday our Bible Study group that meets on Shabbat mornings is throwing a Hanukkah party complete with music, fried foods and an "Ugly Hanukkah Sweater/T-shirt Contest" (you are SO going down Chris Terry!). The rest of the nights will be family nights that each one of us kids will be in charge of. We each will choose a meal, activity and will give out our presents to the family.
Stay tuned for more details!
Oh! Almost forgot! Below is a video that was included with the skit mentioned above. The reporter (played by me) is interviewing Judah Macabee (played by Jonathan) and asks him what did he think it would be like when people celebrate this day in the future. Then we played this video.
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